Cargo ship's lost containers wash up on Dutch islands

Cargo lost by a container ship in a North Sea storm has started washing up on a German island, while soldiers have arrived to help clean up beaches on Dutch islands further west.

Images posted to Twitter show sandals and a My Little Pony toy, alongside flat-screen TVs, damaged containers and even a BMW.

The Panama-registered MSC Zoe shed the containers, containing mostly toys, IKEA furniture and vehicle parts while battling a storm off the Wadden Islands, an archipelago off the northwestern Dutch coast. Shed items included a 25kg bag of unsafe organic peroxide powder on Schiermonnikoog island.

Authorities have warned volunteers and locals not to touch any bags but to call police or the fire brigade.

Among the goods washed up on the shore were flat-screen televisions, brought ashore with the polystyrene material they had been packed in.

Dozens of containers appeared near the islands of Frisian islands of Terschelling, Vlieland, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog.

Jan-Willem Zwart, spokesman for the security services of the Frisian Islands said: "We strongly advise residents and people who have come to clean the beaches to immediately seek medical attention if they come into contact with the bags (containing organic peroxide)".

The Dutch Defence Ministry said the loss of 270 containers from the freighter MSC Zoe on Wednesday, some of them thought to contain hazardous chemicals, was one of the biggest incidents of its kind, they said.

A statement from MSC explained the containers were lost during "heavy weather" and that a salvage company is helping to search for missing items and in the cleanup.

Zoe, now berthed in Bremerhaven, was sailing from Sines, Portugal, to the German port when the containers fell off on Tuesday night. It was built in 2015.

  • Marlene Weaver